By Denis J. Croke
DUBLIN were simply in a different class when the cruised into the Leinster final when easily seeing off the Laois challenge in Croke Park on Sunday.
Laois would have been happy enough with their shift for the first 25 minutes. Dublin may have had the better of the possession stakes but the Laois defence was making life difficult for the Dub’s forwards.
Laois had played into the stiff breeze and despite that with 23 minutes on the clock Dublin held just a two point lead. But it has to be said that Laois posed little threat when moving forward.
By the water break Dublin had raised three white flags while Gary Walsh and Paul Kingston were on target for Laois. Ciaran Kilkenny made it a two point game but then Laois were caught with a sucker punch. Bran Fenton placed Seán Bugler to shot low past Niall Corbet.
This unsettled Laois and Dublin finished out the half strongly shooting three more points to lead 1-7 to 0-2 at the break.
Laois got the start they would have wanted for the second half when Evan O’Carroll converted a mark but thereafter it all went down hill. Ciaran Kilkenny cancelled out that score and when Kilkenny half volleyed past Niall Corbet it effectively was game set and match and there was still 30 minutes to play.
From there to the end Dublin were just operating on cruise control but were still in a different class. The gulf becomes obvious when they can bring on a substitute like Con Costello who scores seven points and end as the game’s top scorer.
Dublin: Cormac Costello 0-7 (0-3f, 0-1 ‘45), Ciaran Kilkenny 1-4, Brian Fenton 0-5, Niall Scully 0-3, Seán Bugler 1-0, Dean Rock 0-2 (0-1 ’45, 0-1f), Paddy Small and Con O’Callaghan 0-1 each
Laois: Gary Walsh (0-1f) and Paul Kingston 0-2 each, Evan O’Carroll (mark) and Ross Munnelly (f) 0-1 each
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Michael Fitzsimons, Johnny Cooper, Eoin Ó Murcháin; James McCarthy, John Small, Robert McDaid; Brian Howard, Tom Lahiff; Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny, Sean Bugler; Paddy Small, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock.
Subs: Paul Mannion for Small (h/t), Cormac Costello for Rock (45m), David Byrne for Lahiff (45m), Philly McMahon for Ó Murcháin (63m)
LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Trevor Collins, Mark Timmons, Robbie Pigott; Sean O’Flynn, Paddy O’Sullivan, Eoin Buggie; Kieran Lillis, John O’Loughlin; Gareth Dillon, Danny O’Reilly, Brian Byrne; Paul Kingston, Evan O’Carroll, Gary Walsh.
Subs: Ross unnelly for Walsh (45m), Mark Barry for O’Loughlin (45m), MichaelKeogh for Dillon (45m), Alan Farrell for Buggie (48m)
Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)
Full report, interview and comment in Tuesday’s Laois Nationalist and in our e-paper at www.laois-nationalist.ie